It's the Little Things

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 4, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

This week, I'd like to redirect a bit. I started several weeks ago discussing claims of atheists (and, unfortunately some Christians) that creationists don't understand evolution and this is why they don't accept it. We talked about what science is and what transition fossils are (aside from non-existent). This week I'm going to quote theistic evolutionist (I really wanted to keep names out of it, but I can't find a better example of the farce for this week's topic than this quote) Tyler Franke of the website (who I responded to in a very long series in 2015 and 2016) has said in regards to “macro” and “micro” evolution: “At its core, 'macroevolution' is simply the steady accumulation of the small changes we observe in 'microevolution.' It seems any sane person must admit that, if small changes can occur, then it is logically consistent that small changes adding up over extremely long periods of time would result in very large changes. On the other hand, the creationist assertion that there is some mysterious, invisible barrier within 'kinds' that prevents large-scale changes is as logically consistent as saying you can walk from your front door to the sidewalk, but walking to your friend’s house across town is fundamentally impossible.”

That is a perfect example of the absolute misconception of what creationists think and what evolution actually is. You see, this is how they talk out of both sides of their mouths. Transitions and their total lack of existence in the fossil record are because evolution only happens in micro-bursts—punctuated equilibrium or some such nonsense. This is convenient because, according to evolutionists, it would leave no evidence, although it allegedly has happened numerous times over the course of life on this planet. You'd think we'd catch it at least a few times. But then they change their tune, hoping you forget what was just talked about and say that microevolution is slow, gradual changes over time that eventually equal macroevolution—huge changes. It has to be either one or the other. If the process was slow and gradual over time, we'd see literally the fossil record in its entirety filled with transitions from lower, more primitive life forms to more and more complex and specialized life forms over time. We find none of that. Punctuated equilibrium isn't any help in this case, because the jumps would still be caught “in the act” so to speak as there would be some time between one change to the next. We don't see that, either. Unless they are going to suggest that MASSIVE changes in DNA that require hundreds or even thousands of perfectly administered mutations at the right time and right places all happened in a time span so short that the geologic column couldn't catch it. No one can be foolish enough to believe that or be that naive.

If you notice in the above quote we're talking about, he says that macroevolution is the steady accumulation of small changes we observe in microevolution. However, he's noted something important—one is observed and the other is an extrapolation. He claims it's logically consistent but I say hogwash. And, even if it was “logical,” that doesn't make it true. The natural world is full of all sorts of things that don't seem to make sense. But it's not logical to say such things, especially when we have a fossil record that clearly states otherwise.

Now, I've gotten into this pretty far and feel I need to make a side-note: what is macroevolution? What is microevolution? Anytime you're discussing these topics with someone you will need to make sure you're talking about the same thing. If you mean one thing and they mean another, it's quite possible you'll never agree about anything when, in reality, you may agree perfectly. However, since you used different definitions for certain terms you missed each other’s points. Mr. Franke has not defined what he means, so we can't even really have a meaningful conversation about the topic. I'll have to assume what he means and I could very well be wrong.

He mentions barriers that creationists put up for these changes, “mysterious, invisible barriers” that he must not understand. There are many changes that have been observed within species that are simply inherent in the species itself. In other words, there is variation within species, genera, and even families. Look at dog breeds and their variation. Look at how many different variations of goldfish there are. But that's not to mention the epigenetic changes that have been seen as well. Epigenetics really does change the whole debate. These changes are made by turning genes on or off in an organism rather than by mutations. That's huge! These changes are passed on to offspring and completely make Darwinism obsolete and unnecessary. There is no need for mutations to create the variation we see in the living world. Sure, there are some mutations (degenerative mutations) that have changed species or populations in the past. But these are apparently not the vast majority of the changes we see that have given us the huge amount of diversity we see in living things. This is perfectly in line with creationist thinking! And, no, there is no amount of epigenetic change that will result in a new body plan or some novel anatomical structure. He can call the barriers to these changes “invisible” or “mysterious” if he likes. Ironically, a mechanism that would explain large-scale changes for the Darwinist is invisible and is a total mystery to them (if we enjoy facts and observational science). It does exist in their imaginations, but that's not science. That's science-fiction. All the changes we see from epigenetics are inherent within the species, so we won't really be seeing “new” organisms. We would be seeing traits that were once buried within the genetic code (they were there all the time) being expressed (they were hidden). This means “new” genetic information isn't necessary.

He wants us to believe that slow accumulation of small changes will lead to large-scale changes over a long time, like walking out the front door and taking small steps down the sidewalk will eventually lead to a longer trip. However, this isn't what we're talking about. We're talking about scaling a large distance with small steps that only large steps can achieve. In other words, if your neighbor across town was actually on the other side of the Grand Canyon, I'm afraid if you tried to walk across the gorge, you'd find the one mile fall to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to be a hindrance—perhaps even deadly (sarcasm). No small steps can get you across the Grand Canyon. No large steps can, either. The jump is too large. The same is true if your “neighbor” lives in Hawaii and you were in Des Moines, IA. You could get closer to his house by walking, but you'd eventually run out of walking space. No amount of walking will get you to Hawaii from the continental United States. The ocean in between would put a slight damper on your travel plans if you were only walking. The gaps between body plans, new, novel anatomical structures, physiology, reproduction, and so much more show the gullible nature of individuals who accept what, more than likely, novice or hobbyist evolutionists tell them (it makes it easier since these folks generally want to believe it, so they accept it without researching or thoughtful consideration). My experience is they are often too credulous, even of authorities in the field.

Speaking of authorities in the field, this is what David N. Reznick and Robert E. Ricklefs had to say in Nature concerning how microevolution cannot explain macroevolution:

"Macroevolution posed a problem to Darwin because his principle of descent with modification predicts gradual transitions between small-scale adaptive changes in populations and these larger-scale phenomena, yet there is little evidence for such transitions in nature. Instead, the natural world is often characterized by gaps, or discontinuities. One type of gap relates to the existence of 'organs of extreme perfection', such as the eye, or morphological innovations, such as wings, both of which are found fully formed in present-day organisms without leaving evidence of a transition between them. These discontinuities, plus the discontinuous appearance and disappearance of taxa in the fossil record, form the modern conceptual divide between microevolution and macroevolution. ...[And] ...An undercurrent of the debate about the mechanisms of macroevolution is whether natural selection (microevolution) is also the cause of macroevolution. ...Darwin's proposal carries a more general message for contemporary discussions of macroevolution, namely that microevolution alone cannot explain macroevolution."

David Swift said concerning the obfuscation of thoughts like Mr. Franke's, “Either many biologists do not actually perceive the substantial difference between (a) evolution that is due solely to the segregation of genes and (b) evolution that requires new genes; and hence do not appreciate the loose way in which they are using 'macroevolution.' Or they do see it, but are deliberately using ‘macroevolution’ loosely in order to provide at least semantic support – because biological evidence is lacking – for the view that macroevolution is nothing but accumulated microevolution.”

Laypersons generally speak things concerning evolutionary theory that no professional, or few professionals, would endorse or believe. It's common, actually. I find it comical that so many evolutionists I've encountered are so confident about what they believe when I can show them that men and women whose lives are dedicated to researching biology and Darwinism are not so sure. Then these same laypersons will conclude, “You must not understand evolution.” Oh, the irony...

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